Antioch Devotionals- August 24-28

MONDAY, AUGUST 24TH Matthew 5:9
By Nita Kay Freeman
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God”- Matthew 5:9

Peace . . . it’s what we all long for.  I’m enjoying my empty nest.  One thing I can say about it, is it’s pretty peaceful.  As the mother of 3 children that were very close in age, peace wasn’t something that you found around our house very often!  I felt like all I did was long for and try to make peace in our household.  Sometimes, I abandoned truth as Jason talked about in the message.  Sometimes, I just wanted all the conflict and noise to stop so badly that I said whatever I needed to so that we would find peace in our home.  That is not what God intended.  One of the things I read about this scripture really stuck with me: “A peacemaker longs for peace, works for peace and sacrifices for peace, but the attainment of peace may not come.”  Jason told us that true PEACE only comes through Christ.  In order to become a true peacemaker, you must love peace and work for peace.  You must pray for your enemies and do good to them.  But never abandon your allegiance to Christ to ACHIEVE peace.  I’ll end with this quote from Dr. Michelle Bengtson . . . “God’s peace is not the calm after the storm.  It’s the steadfastness during it.”
TUESDAY, AUGUST 25TH Matthew 5:9 (The Message)
By Toya Aultman
"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.”-Matthew 5:9

Well now, that just puts it in a different perspective doesn't it? How many of us often try to play devil's advocate? Whether it's over sports, or politics, or roundabouts (Conway folks get this) or to wear a mask or not wear a mask...way too often I find myself and others trying to prove our points, or just trying to stir things up.
Does that step on my toes? Absolutely! And honestly, I hate that! Not because it hurts, but because I find myself not always being an encouragement in helping people to get along. A peacemaker.
Billy Graham once wrote, "Man's conflict with man has been but an expression on the human level of his conflict with God. Until man finds armistice with God, he cannot know peace with his fellowman. If we are to be peacemakers, we first must make our peace with God."
So there you have it...Know God. Know Peace. No God. No Peace.

Father God, work in my life and help me to be a peacemaker. Draw my heart to Your filling peace every morning. Amen.
Guilty by Kerry Stitch
“This One (the Messiah) shall be our peace.”-Micah 5:5

“Dear Everyone, I’m guilty!”  I like to BE right.  Sadly, this isn’t listed in Matthew 5 as one of the Be-attitudes.  I’ve searched for it…not there.  In fact, I’m convinced that there must be an addictive high that comes with thinking we are right to explain its power over us.  We’ve all done it…scrolled some screens to bank a reservoir of support to validate our “rightness.”  Honestly, the more we promote our rightness apart from Christ’s example…the louder our immaturity and ignorance screams. “It ain’t a purty picture!” Trust me.
So how do we shift to the masterpiece only God can paint on our hearts? Let’s start with peacefulness.  It seems to have been deleted from much of our world today.  It starts with our canvas being yielded to the ultimate display of beauty…the mind of Christ. When our clay is relinquished on the potter’s wheel; He is more than able to create a priceless treasure, worthy of His handiwork. When we choose to allow the Heavenly Sculptor to chip away at our warring reactions and transform our responses to something worthy to gaze upon as supernatural; others stop to take in the beauty.  (Much like stopping to enjoy an artistic creation displayed from a lighted, focal point in a prestigious museum).
 Incidentally, our value becomes most evident in His reflection from the “piece/peace.”  By all standards, timeless and beautiful are a given with His signature attached.  Sadly, most of the art forms we manufacture these days are hate-infused, self-sufficient slogans paraded amid chaos that better depict war zones.  Many are puny attempts at self-promoting illicit conflict, arrogance, and division.  Do we really believe that powering up with brute force, manipulation, and propaganda moves us closer to God’s design?  I’m not a math whiz, but the addition of hate, threats, and destruction never adds up to success or God’s version of peace.  Jesus has always been in the business of being the Master Craftsman.  His ways, His presence, His reconciliation, His priorities, His characteristics, His peacefulness are included in the divine tool pouch we should draw from in creating every day masterpieces.  Will it be easy, efficient, and effortless…NO! Ask a diamond.  
But will it be worth it?  Ask Jesus.
By Terri Scharn
“You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.  That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.” -Matthew 5:9

Sometimes, we so often act before we speak. I know, how easy that is to do. We are all human and sometimes forget that it is a constant battle with our inner self.  
As, Bro. Jason said in his message, we are to make peace a high priority.  Strive to live at peace with others....sometimes this will take extreme effort.  Other times it will not be an effort at all, because  things are going well.  But......then there are those times when it takes every effort and more just to keep our emotions in check. This is why it is so important for us to stay focused on Jesus, despite our troubles. He gives us peace, and wisdom for how to minister to someone who is anything but peaceful.
  We must recognize our source of peace, that being Jesus Christ , (NIV) Eph. 2:14 "For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one, and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility."
I love object lessons, and one that comes to mind is this....If I sit a pot of flowers on a bed of rocks in a shallow container, then the plant will absorb the water and it will thrive, providing it has proper sunshine, etc., but the point is all the while the plant is there, it is absorbing water... but in reality,  if we are continually grounded daily in His word and work we absorb all He has for us and then we will be ready to meet anyone that comes across our path.
Because the Bible begins and ends with peace it should be our mission to fill in the middle and be an "Agent of Peace" and the only way for us to do that is to abide in the Lord and His guidance.
Thank you Father for trusting us to be an agent of your peace. Help us to recognize how important this is and how much the world needs it. In Jesus Name we ask these things . Amen
FRIDAY, AUGUST 28TH Matthew 5:9
By Cindy Beckman
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”-Matthew 5:9

As you are well aware, many are trying to go back to their regular routines after a summer of uncertainties, especially those in our schools and colleges.  They are anxious and worried, for their physical health as well as having to go about their day in a different manner than before.  As children of God—Christians—be intentional this week in pointing those you encounter to the true source of peace in these uncertain times: For He Himself is our peace (Eph. 2:14).  

In the beginning, there was peace but then sin entered the picture as our adversary, the devil, began walking around, seeking whom he could devour (I Peter 5:8), causing division, confusion and uncertainty.  Our God is not the author of confusion, but peace (I Cor. 14:33) and those around you need to be pointed toward Him for the peace they seek.  Jesus is the only one who can fix our broken world.  Social reforms, government interventions, and even all the well-meaning humanitarian efforts cannot without God’s divine intervention.

Prayer:  Help us to be mindful in pointing others toward the true source of peace—a restored relationship with You that only comes by accepting the free gift of Your Son who died for our sins.